12 August 2011
With the Marlins falling seven games under .500 and Hanley Ramirez making another trip to the disapled list, it is time to admit that the season is over for the Marlins, and it is time to look towards 2012. With 45 games left the Marlins are 22 games behind the Phillies in the NL East and 13.5 behind the Braves for the NL wild-card. Essentially the Marlins will need to win almost all their games the rest of the way while Chris Coghlan, Josh Johnson, Omar Infante, and Hanley Ramirez are all on the DL, so that will not happen.
Marlins Front Office will keep the same stance that they had at the trade deadline, they do not want to do any move that will take away form the teams ability to win in 2011. The front office wants to try and build momentum before going to new stadium. Just like then, I think that it is a crazy and stupid idea. Football season is about to start, a sub-.500 Marlins is going to be pushed to the back burner and any real chance to build a momentum of fan support for next year is gone. At this point the Marlins need to focus on 2012 and that may include shutting down Josh Johnson (and that official news could be coming any day now) and Hanley Ramirez. As for Infante and Coghlan, Infante will not be with the Marlins next year so he it is no big deal if he wants to play or not when his broken finger heals. I tend to believe that he will be back for the last few weeks of the season. As for Chris Coghlan, the Marlins just really need him to get healthy more so than anything else.
Right now the Marlins just need to get threw the rest of this month before spring call ups when guys like Matt Dominguez and Alex Sanabia would be brought up. Both of those two players will essentially be auditioning this September to try and win starting jobs that will be open next spring. In 2012 the Marlins will be looking to fill wholes at second base, third base, center field, and maybe two starting pitcher roles. Two of the three everyday positions will be filled by Chris Coghlan and Emilio Bonifacio, it is just not clear which spot they will fill. Chris Coghlan was expected to be the Marlins starting center fielder and while he looked okay in the position before getting hurt, he did rise threw the Marlins organization as a second baseman. The Marlins need to figure out right now whether he is going to be a center fielder or second baseman for the team in 2012, because if he is able to come back and play in September it would be pointless to have him play one position now if he is going to play a different one in the spring. Bonifacio, on the other hand, is such a good utility player that while the Marlins will have him in the everyday lineup in 2012, where he will play will be determined by how Chris Coghlan and Matt Dominguez play, and what the Marlins do in free agency.
Meanwile the Marlins will be looking for pitchers to start behind Josh Johnson, Anibal Sanchez, and Ricky Nolasco. Javier Vazquez has pitched very well in the second half of the season, but I would be shocked if the Marlins decide to bring him back in 2012. The Marlins other starter in 2011, Chris Volstad, was just recalled from Triple-A New Orleans after three disappointing starts in the minors. These next eight or so start for Volstad could be his final opportunity to show that he is worth the Marlins sticking with. If he is disappointing then don't be surprised if the Marlins trade him this off-season.
The two other Marlins auditioning for starting jobs next year will be Clay Henlsey and Alex Sanabia. While Hensley has not been bad as a starter for the Marlins since taking the role, he also has not been that impressive either. I believe that he has more value as an eighth inning set man more that a starter. Sanabia on the other hand, who should be up in September if he is fully back from his injury, has the best chance to take over a starter role next year. He was pretty good when he came up at the end of 2010 season, and I beleive he would have been up in the rotation this year no later than June had he not been suffering from an injury most of the season. Marlins fans may ask about Brad Hand who has seen a good number of starts in 2011, but if you have seen those starts you can see he needs another year or so in the minor leagues to fine tune things before he can be considered as a full time starter for the then Miami Marlins.
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